So, your home is in the perfect location, and you’ve already updated the interiors to raise your property’s value and painted your doors and interiors in sought-after colors. Is there anything else you can do to eke out an even bigger payday once you decide to sell? Of course! It’s time to turn your attention to landscaping.
“A budget of at least 25 percent of your property’s worth should be invested in your landscape in order to retain the value of your home,” advises landscape designer Amy Hovis, principal and owner of Eden Garden Design in Austin. “With landscape improvements hovering at a 200 to 400 percent return on investment, it makes a lot of sense to hire a designer and do it right.”
Now before you go all-out with a yard redesign, let’s focus on the changes that will increase your property’s value. We chatted with real estate and landscape design experts Gagan Saini, director of acquisitions at JiT Home Buyers; landscape architect Bryan Clayton, CEO of lawn care marketplace GreenPal; design director Kevin Lenhart of the online landscape design site Yardzen; and designer Carol Kurth of Carol Kurth Architecture + Interiors to find out what exactly you should do to improve the land around your home.
Plant a low-maintenance, sustainable garden.
“Landscaping is that silent ambassador that speaks volumes about your home, creating that crucial first impression,” says Saini. “An artfully landscaped garden is the x-factor that significantly uplifts your property’s value.” But many potential buyers aren’t going to want to put in too much effort to care for the garden, so low-maintenance features like irrigation systems can help boost your home’s value. “Here’s something most people don’t know—sustainable landscaping practices can significantly increase property value,” says Clayton. “By implementing water-efficient irrigation systems, using native plantings, and opting for organic fertilizers, you demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. This appeals to environmentally conscious buyers and adds an extra layer of value.”
Develop outdoor living spaces.
Indoor-outdoor living is all the rage, even in four-season destinations, so you’ll want to build out an alfresco space for day-to-day use. But the key is not to go overboard—just keep it simple. “If you’re designing for enjoyment now and ROI later, just think of adaptable functional elements,” says Lenhart. “In other words, focus on functional features like a fire pit area or flexible space like a patio, deck, or outdoor dining area that’s adaptable to many potential buyers versus very personalized features like a putting green, elaborate water feature, or built-in pizza oven.”
Make difficult terrain usable.
If you have a hilly property, go the extra mile to add retaining walls to create usable outdoor space. “Creating and revitalizing spaces with complicated terrain can transform an underutilized space and elevate a home in terms of enjoyment, lifestyle, and property value,” says Carol Kurth, principal of Carol Kurth Architecture + Interiors in Bedford, New York. “Our Oasis project [shown above] illustrates how a site with a steep grade change can be transformed with fieldstone retaining walls—one of which was used to create an oversized herb garden for meals al fresco—and a thoughtful verdant landscape, creating architecture as a backdrop for living.”
Keep up with maintenance.
This may sound obvious, but when you’re ready to list your home, be sure all your landscaping is impeccably maintained. Remember, first impressions are everything—and it’s all too easy to let landscaping get away from you as you prepare your home for sale. “Proper landscape maintenance is essential. Well-maintained lawns, trimmed hedges, and weed-free gardens contribute to a polished and cared-for appearance,” says Clayton.